Special Populations

Assessments for Students Receiving Special Education Services

The STAAR program includes assessments for students receiving special education services. STAAR Alternate assessments are available. STAAR Alternate 2 incorporates a vertical alignment in the program's assessment tasks.

The Admission, Review and Dismissal (ARD) committee will decide which State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR) assessment a student served through special education programs should take based on his/her abilities and eligibility requirements. Individual ARD committees will continue to consider the needs of each student and select additional designated supports and supplemental aids that are necessary to support the student’s success during assessment.

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STAAR Alternate 2

The Texas Education Agency (TEA) designed the STAAR Alternate 2 to assess students in grades 3–8 and high school who have significant cognitive disabilities and are receiving special education services. TEA has established student participation requirements for the STAAR Alternate 2 assessments, which are available at http://www.tea.state.tx.us/student.assessment/special-ed/staaralt/ Students will perform standardized assessment tasks linked to the grade-level Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) that measure student progress on skills aligned with the academic grade-level content standards.

Will there be a STAAR Accommodated test?

There are a number of designated supports that a student may be eligible to utilize during a STAAR test. Some of these supports are only provided through a computerized form of the test. Individual ARD committees will continue to consider the needs of each student and select additional supports that are necessary to support the student’s success during assessment.

Dyslexia Accommodations

TEA expanded testing policies to include high school students with dyslexia and other similar reading disabilities. Students will be allowed to take the STAAR/EOC English I and II assessments as well as the STAAR grades 3-8 reading assessments with designated supports, such as the oral reading of item stems/answer options and extended time. Individual 504 committees will continue to consider the needs of each student and select designated supports that are necessary to support the student’s success during assessment.

Assessments for English Language Learners

English Language Learners (ELLs) represent a diverse group of students who know English in varying degrees when they enter U.S. schools. It takes a number of years for a student who does not know English upon entry to U.S. schools to become fluent and able to use English effectively and independently in academic settings.

ELLs participate in state assessments in several ways based on participation criteria, which is available on the Texas Education Agency website. Under the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR), ELLs could take STAAR tests in English, a Spanish version of STAAR in grades 3-5, a STAAR test with linguistic designated supports, or the STAAR Alternate 2 assessment.

ELLs also participate in the Texas English Language Proficiency Assessment System (TELPAS), a federally-required program that provides an annual measure of student progress in learning the English language. Student performance on TELPAS may also determine the student’s eligibility for particular STAAR assessments.

As of August 2, 2013, TEA has notified districts that ELL students who meet special provisions will be required to take the English I EOC exam but will not be required to pass it in order to meet graduation requirements. ELLs will be required to pass the English II EOC exam to meet graduation requirements.

Spanish Versions of STAAR

Spanish versions of STAAR for grades 3-5 are available for each grade and subject assessed by the STAAR English versions. The Spanish versions are comparable to the English-version tests in content, rigor, and achievement standards.